Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Note to Self

While thumbing through a box of grammar school ephemera recently, I encountered an uneven scrap of notebook paper with some scribbling on it. Turns out that it was a bona fide “Note to Self” and dated 2/26/80, which places its author—me—in my senior year of high school.

What can I say for certain about this day in February 1980? It was a Tuesday and a leap year, so there was a Friday, February 29th. I took a sick day from school, but I can’t say for sure whether I was physically under the weather or not. I’d hazard a guess that I wasn't. I was, though, experiencing some measure of teenage angst—the “I dread returning to that sickening place” is a dead giveaway.

Funny, but I have no recollection of writing this “Note to Self” and headlining it “Feelings Tonight.” I don’t recall what exactly was troubling me thirty-three years ago on that winter’s eve. Suffice it to say, I didn’t enjoy my high school experience all that much, which was more about me than the institution of fine learning I attended, which really was better than most in the Bronx. As I recall, I found my senior year the least unpleasant and objectionable of the four. So, the timing of this “Note to Self” surprised me a little.

As far as I'm concerned, the most intriguing note within this particular “Note to Self” is: “To be taken out on June 27.” This was the scheduled day I picked up my high school diploma, I believe, and the last day I would ever again set foot—by necessity—in that “sickening place.” Strange, but I do remember penning occasional notes with the “To be taken out on” tag and date—when enumerated troubles, which seemed so all consuming and even insurmountable, would be no more. It was my crude teenage way of convincing myself that “this too shall pass.” Oh, I believe in tomorrow.

There was, however, a serious glitch in this particular “Note to Self” and all the others, too. The words I penned ended up not being read—“taken out” as it were—on the prescribed days. And this was integral to the "Note to Self" concept. Still, it's probably a positive thing in the big picture—proof that so many of my problems were indeed fleeting.

On June 27, 1980, I was supposed to exclaim, “Hey, that awful angst that I wrote about in my 'Note to Self' is no more—gone with the winds of time.” Well, having missed that key date, I have finally gotten around to reading it thirty-three years later. And, yes, whatever was the overwhelming burden that confounded me on that February night a long time ago has been lifted from my shoulders. As for other “Notes to Self” that exist in the miscellaneous ephemera that I have yet to uncover, I’m certain, too, those assorted tribulations have also dissipated.

I do, though, have a few brand new “Notes to Self” that need to be written—notes befitting my life in the new millennium. To be taken out on when—now that’s the big question. Perhaps I'll publish them in thirty-three years and let everybody know how they turned out.

(Photo from the personal collection of Nicholas Nigro)

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